A well-versed cannabis user will typically know that there are different kinds of waxes and concentrates. Additionally, a lot of people do not realize how many different types of concentrates exist. Luckily, we breakdown not just the different results of extracts, but also their method and if part or all of the plant is used.
We’ll be classifying concentrates based on four factors—curing process, material used, extraction method, and consistency. A cannabis concentrate may be extracted using the same method, but the material that went in may be different, or the consistency may be a lot thicker than another. Recognizing the differentiation between all four is important for anyone looking to enter the world of cannabis concentrates, or even enrich their pre-existing knowledge.
There are four factors of classification when it comes to cannabis extracts:
- The first factor would be the curing process for the cannabis plant. Traditionally, there has been one method since the beginning of cannabis use: cut, trim, dry, and cure. However, with recent legalization, there has been research done and experiments performed. Thus, we have developed a second method of curing cannabis in the cannabis industry. This method is the freeze dry method, or flash frozen.
- What part of the plant is used? The whole plant can be used when extracting the concentrate. However, there are some methods that will use only part of the plant. Sometimes people will use trim, but the best production would be the exclusive use of the whole flowers of the cannabis plant. Specifically, the quality nugs that would be used as flower for premium eighths in a dispensary.
- The next thing we would look at is how the cannabinoids are extracted from the plant. There are a number of methods for separating the active ingredients from marijuana. Some methods can contaminate the extract and some don’t. Additionally, there are ways to extract without any kind of additive or solvent.
- The final factor is the consistency. This is the final result of the extract. The concentrate can either be very liquidy or very solid and everything in between. You’ll come across roughly 8 different consistencies.
With this overview, there is an idea of the complexity that has now gone into cannabis since its progress in legalization in the United States.
Note: This article will not go through every type of cannabis concentrate that can be produced. Because of how long that would take, we will only be focusing on the types that are more commercially used/produced.
The traditional cut and dry method has been the only known process for curing cannabis. However, in recent years, there has been more research and development with the rise of legalization of cannabis. Specifically, this applies to the United States the ever growing number of states legalizing recreational use of cannabis. With so many people experimenting with cannabis, the discovery of flash freezing cannabis has changed concentrates and the market significantly. Flash freezing cannabis is way more efficient than normal cut and dry because it not only saves time, but it also preserves the quality and quantity of the cannabinoids and terpenes. The terpenes hold the aromatic and flavor profiles of the cannabis plant. Thus, this method leaves the bud more flavorful and potent. This process can be defined by one word when looking at concentrates. Any cannabis product that says “live” (i.e. live resin or live rosin) will have gone through the freeze dry process of curing. Though this has helped farmers preserve their harvests, giving them more shelf life and quality, this method is more unsustainable compared to the traditional method.
Parts of Plants Used
After large operations harvest and hang their weed, they are left with a lot of run off trimmings. This consists of stems, leaves, tiny nugs, etc. These growers will sometimes repurpose the trimmings to create a lower quality concentrate. These concentrates are called trim run, regardless of their consistency. The best way to tell if you are handling some trim run is by smelling it. Trim run typically doesn’t contain many beneficial cannabinoids or terpenes. Though this may give a decent high for the occasional user, the difference can be found in taste. Because trim run contain more chlorophyll, the flavor tends to be more on the peppery side.
In contrast to trim run, nug run is creating concentrate from the actual flower of the plant. The actual flower can be referred to as nugs, which is short for nuggets. For cannasseurs, these are green golden nuggets. Because the nugs carry a heavier concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes, the concentrates are then of a higher quality when compared to trim run concentrates. This is in terms of potency and on flavor profile. Unfortunately, this is the reason for higher prices for some concentrates at dispensaries.
Methods of Extraction
Butane Hash Oil
Butane hash oil (BHO) uses butane as a solvent. It extracts all the cannabinoids and terpenes. Though the process is not complicated, the use of butane is dangerous. BHO’s popularity is based on the potential high levels of THC that can get concentrated. Some people don’t like to use BHO because of the possibility of inhaling butane. Though professional manufacturers take extreme precautions when removing the butane, the products may end up a bit harsh. There are some brands out there creating very flavorful BHO extracts for an affordable price.
Propane Hash Oil
PHO is the same method as BHO but uses propane instead of butane. Everything is pretty much the same, but experienced PHO manufacturers know that depending on the strain, it’s possible to get more terpenes with less residuals compared to BHO.
Though CO2 extraction, sometimes known as supercritical fluid extraction, is solvent-free and mess-free, the product is very pricey. Because the product lacks toxins while retaining a terpene-rich profile, it is very popular amongst industry leaders and seasoned consumers looking for high terpene percentages and cannabinoid levels.
This method is used to extract the kief from the marijuana plant. Kief is generally pictured coming out of the bottom chamber of a grinder with three chambers. The flower is rubbed all over a fine mesh where the trichomes will collect. These hair-like particles store a bulk of the terpenes and cannabinoids. Kief can be smoked just as is because it is a form of concentrated THC and terpenes. Otherwise, it can be used to create other kinds of concentrates.
This derivative of hash can be made by a water and ice method or a dry sieve technique. The consistency is between sand and brown sugar and the levels of terpenes and cannabinoids is on the highest level. This rare commodity is super clean and solvent-free.
This concentrate is like a glass-like caramel candy. It gets its name from the glass-like consistency. Though it’s typically created through solvent methods, it is noted for its extreme purity. It has a high evaporation point, which sometimes makes finding the right temp trickier when dabbing.
This product is made from butane hash oil. Its purging process is done in a vacuum oven for a good while. The lower the temperature the better. Though it has a soft consistency, it still has enough brittle to crumble when handled.
If the consistency is closer to honey, it is called wax. It is in abundance and is a very popular concentrate. Wax can be either BHO or PHO. When using wax, be careful for high potency and for a huge mess without the proper tools. Wax can cost up to four times more than the plant it was extracted from.
Ice Wax differs from regular wax by using water, ice, and mesh screens for extraction. The cold temperature leaves the trichomes in a very fine structure. This makes it sandy and a bit easier to work with.
Sap’s chocolate-like texture makes it difficult to work with. It is recommended to use it in cool areas so it won’t melt. Just like milk chocolate, the sap just melts as soon as it touches your fingers. A tool is highly recommended when handling these concentrates.
Pull and Snap
Pull and snap won’t make too much of a mess when handled by fingers like taffy. The name comes from the way you separate the product for dabs. You simply pull, twist, and break off a small piece. Some people will roll it into a ball for vaping or dabbing, but others will flatten it out and smoke it on a bowl of weed.
Budder is one of the more consistent and preferred concentrates on the market. Its consistency is like butter with potency up to 90% THC and 99% purity on average. Because of the whipping process, it is very tedious to make. Thus, the slightly higher price on most of the most flavorful badder products in dispensaries.
Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)
RSO is a known concentrate mainly used for medicinal purposes. This is a full spectrum extract that’s often given to people with cancer to potentially lend aid. It’s mostly consumed in forms of small pellets placed under the tongue or by simply swallowing or vaporizing.
Diamond and Sauce
This is a newer style that is typically made from flash frozen cannabis. The process is a long one in which the terpenes and cannabinoids separate. The terpenes turn into the sauce and the cannabinoids into THC crystals. This is currently one of the best concentrates on the market due to its complexity, sophistication, and purity. Diamonds and Sauce concentrates offer the best of both worlds—the potency of THCA diamonds, and the tremendous flavor of cannabis terp sauce.
Hopefully this gives you the tools you need to decide what is the best concentrate for you and your needs. If you visit Cannablue’s online menu, you can find a wide variety of cannabis concentrates that will suit any occasion.
*The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease